Foresight News rounds up the key events that need to be in your news diary this week…
Monday 11 October
Wales follows Scotland in introducing Covid passports for large events and nightclubs following a rise in COVID-19 cases. A vote to approve the passes was narrowly approved in the Senedd on 6 October after Conservative MS Gareth Davies, who was due to vote against the measure, missed the vote as he was attending the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester and was allegedly unable to access the Welsh Parliament’s remote voting system. Presiding Officer Elin Jones said Davies had been given “every opportunity to be present” and rejected calls for the vote to be re-run.
- October 15, 2021
- October 1, 2021
- September 24, 2021
The IMF and World Bank Annual Meetings open in Washington DC, though many events are still taking place virtually. There will be plenty to discuss, from energy prices to inflation fears to supply-chain issues, but highlights today include key forecasts for global growth, which are released in the flagship World Economic Outlook on the Tuesday, and a discussion on pandemic recovery with the heads of the IMF, World Bank, WTO and WHO. Other newsworthy events throughout the week include IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva’s main press conference, a discussion with Alok Sharma on the countdown to COP26, and a meeting of G20 finance ministers, all on Wednesday, as well as another Sharma-led climate event on Thursday that will feature interventions from The Prince of Wales, UN Special Envoy for Climate Action and Finance Mark Carney, and US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.
Yellen and Carney are also on hand as political and financial leaders gather for TED’s Countdown climate change conference in Edinburgh this week; both are speaking at a pre-conference finance panel alongside New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. Climate Change Minister Zac Goldsmith addresses the conference proper today, while Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon speaks tomorrow. While perhaps wishing to use this as another opportunity to promote Scotland on an international stage, Sturgeon is under pressure following revelations that tens of thousands of COP26 attendees in Glasgow will be exempt from the Scottish Government’s much-maligned Covid passport scheme.
The IFS Green Budget has been preceded this year by a series of papers which paint a picture of local authorities in dire economic straits and households struggling with mounting bills and tight finances. The full report, which assesses the challenges facing the Chancellor ahead of this month’s Budget, comes after the influential think tank warned that council tax could rise by £220 in the next few years and that the government’s plans for social care were underfunded to the tune of £5 billion a year.
Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi hosts an extraordinary virtual gathering of G20 counterparts to discuss the situation in Afghanistan following NATO’s withdrawal and the Taliban takeover of the country. The meeting comes as the international community grapples with questions over how to balance the very real threat of a humanitarian catastrophe in the country coupled with concerns over the brutal new reality faced by Afghans under the Taliban.
The EU is expected to present fresh proposals today to resolve the impasse over the Northern Ireland Protocol, as European Commissioners hold their weekly college meeting. Commission Vice President Maros Šefčovič said the proposals would be “far-reaching”, but cautioned against “quick, easy fix solutions” and “counterproductive” threats from the UK to trigger Article 16 to suspend the protocol.
The International Energy Agency releases its World Energy Outlook, an annual analysis of the impact of various factors on supply and demand globally, amid turbulent markets and gloomy forecasts in the UK of skyrocketing bills over the coming months. This year’s edition was billed as a COP26 handbook, offering analysis of countries’ efforts on clean energy transition, though current conditions may mean the economic analysis overshadows the report’s environmental offerings.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid and England’s Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty speak at the opening day of the Royal College of General Practitioners Conference. Javid will be keen to press home plans to cut down on bureaucracy for GPs to allow them more time for face-to-face appointments, including proposals to shift responsibility for writing prescriptions and sick notes to other parts of the health service. He may also want to address calls from the BMA to tackle “the wave of growing abuse” against GPs as the public have become frustrated with a lack of in-person appointments since the pandemic began.
A half-shredded artwork (pictured) by Banksy goes under the hammer at Sotheby’s. The art world’s man of mystery caused a stir in 2018 when the artwork, then known as Girl with a Balloon, self-shredded after being sold for just over £1 million. The newly titled Love in the Bin – with its frame decommissioned – is expected to fetch up to £6 million this time around.
An inquest takes place into the death of railway worker Belly Mujinga, 47, who died in April 2020 after contracting COVID-19. Mujinga was involved in an incident while working at London’s Victoria Station two weeks prior to her death, when a man who claimed he had coronavirus spat at her. British Transport Police and the Crown Prosecution Service both determined there was not enough evidence to bring criminal charges against the 57-year-old man involved, but Mujinga’s family have campaigned for his name to be disclosed so they can consider pursuing a private prosecution.
Adele releases her new single Easy on Me, marking her long-awaited return to music after a six-year hiatus. The song precedes a fourth album, hotly-anticipated after the number 30 mysteriously appeared on landmarks around the world, hinting at a continuation of her previous album titles. The queen of ballads confirmed in a lengthy Vogue interview that she drew on her 2019 divorce from Simon Konecki to inspire her latest release.
NASA launches its Lucy mission, the first spacecraft to be sent into space to study Jupiter’s Trojan asteroids. It is hoped that studying the asteroids, which are left over from the formation of the Solar System 4.5 billion years ago, will expand our understanding of how the planets were formed. The launch concludes an exciting week of space “firsts” as 90-year-old William Shatner, best known for playing Star Trek’s Captain Kirk, is set to become the oldest person to fly to space aboard Blue Origin’s New Shepard on Tuesday.
Sunday 17 October
The Government takes over running of London South East Rail services following an investigation which identified over £25 million of taxpayer money not declared by LSER, amounting to a significant breach of the franchise agreement. Although The Department of Transport will operate LSER until a suitable new contractor can be found, the service could yet be broken up, with London Mayor Sadiq Khan indicating that that Transport for London would bid to take control of Southeastern’s urban commuter services and add them to the London Overground network.
The awards ceremony for the Earthshot Prize, the environmental prize established by Prince William and David Attenborough in October 2020, takes place at London’s Alexandra Palace. The prize is intended to become a kind of Nobel for environmentalism, and will pay out £50 million over the coming decade for projects which affect positive change in climate and nature, with the first five £1 million-pound prizes up for grabs today.
The news diary is provided in association with Foresight News.
Picture: PA Wire/Dominic Lipinski